Juggling Reality

I’m not the most graceful person – never have been.  I can trip over nothing, miss the lip of my coffee cup, bump into a wall – and that’s just walking from one end of the kitchen to the other.  Would that these were marketable skills.  What I typically balance well though are the variable weights of the thought bubbles in my head.  Have you ever stopped to consider how many disconnected thoughts jump around your mind in a five-minute period?  Some complete, others rejected.  Some stubbornly intractable, others as ephemeral as a breeze.  So we go through our days.

Perhaps it’s the disparate qualities of these thoughts that make them manageable.  When life events collide, and the thoughts are connected despite the qualities that make them each unique – well, that’s another story…that’s the stuff of which headaches are made.  Juggling – it’s not for the faint of heart.

Over the last few days, much has happened that is disparate yet similar.  Andy turned sixty.  My aunt passed away.  Our well temporarily ran out of water – literally.

Sixty is an impressive number.  A bit frightening even though the alternative is far scarier.  And this generation of ours is making sixty look damn good.  My daughter-in-law added a perspective I hadn’t considered – a birthday just makes you one day older than the day before.  Well that just means that Andy is 59 plus a few days.  And he wears it well.  But when he looked at me yesterday and simply said “I’m sixty years old”, I felt the weight of those words.  He is surprised naturally – how did we get here?  I’m still wondering whether or not he’s going to ask me to go steady.

We also had just come home from the funeral service for my aunt.  I hesitate to write too much about her, for as much as I loved her, there are four cousins of mine and six grandchildren who are the rightful authors of her story.  She was a vibrant, social, politically passionate spitfire with a great smile.  I remember lots of family moments at her house.  Her husband and my dad (they were brothers) singing “The Bluebird Of Happiness” before collapsing in tears of laughter.  Laughter.  That’s it.  I remember laughter.  I choose to remember laughter.  And how loving they were to my children.  Her last years were stolen by Alzheimer’s – an unforgiving thief.

And she was the last of my parents’ cohort group.  The last of my aunts and uncles.  It suggests that my sister, cousins and I are now next in this ineffable path.  I find that a difficult thought to hold onto for very long; I want to drop it, so I can pick it up when I’m ready – and yet it feels like it’s covered in Velcro.  I’m not ready for all the ramifications of being a grown-up.  My hunch is none of us are.  I am in love with life and I am angry that it has to end as we know it.  My head aches.  My heart aches.  And the sun rose this morning as it always does.

The well feels a bit dry as you can probably tell.  The well guys were here already this morning and needed to swap out a part, advising us to keep the power off for a couple of hours to give the well a chance to refill.  It seems like good advice.  Sometimes you just have to power down and give it all over.  Cry a bit.  Accept that there are questions without answers or at least fight them with less vehemence.  Let the sun hurt your eyes as it warms your skin.  It’s okay.

RadiatingBlossom.wordpress.com posted a poem yesterday which has stayed in my bones.  It seems a far better closing thought than anything I could offer.

The Thing Is –  Ellen Bass

To love life, to love it even

when you have no stomach for it

and everything you’ve held dear

crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

thickening the air, heavy as water

more fit for gills than lungs;

when grief weights you like your own flesh

only more of it, an obesity of grief,

you think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

between your palms, a plain face,

no charming smile, no violet eyes,

and you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.

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Leave The Door Open

This video stayed with me.  The changing aspect of love’s reality.  What we’re sure we define as love when our notebooks are covered with hearts and initials inside them, notes are passed and love songs are written expressly for you.  Believing that it lasts forever, when one really has no concept of what that means.  Love in later years, with fewer illusions and more complications, yet felt with a deeper understanding of the rapidity with which time passes.  Learning to stay in love and learning to let go should one need to.  Remembering to keep the door open to the possibility that it will return in a different form, with a different song and open arms.  Let love in – however you define it.

Separate Water from a River

Another fabulous offering from David Kanigan

Live & Learn

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…“Work-life balance” is a toxic distinction, inviting misery and stress, endless juggling and reconfigurations to try and get it “right,” where no right actually exists.

Maybe the hippies, the yogis, Einstein had it right when they say that everything is life – no matter what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with – because everything is energy, vibration, movement. You can’t separate work from life anymore than you can separate water from a river.

The question, then, becomes more about where, energetically speaking, do you want to dwell? What sort of pulse and movement do you want to enjoy, through it all? Tortured and low, with the executives and the mind’s cruel categories, or up high, with the lovers, the synergists and the fools?

~ Mark Morford, Is “Work-Life” Balance a Lie?


Photograph Credit: Brooke Didonato

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Sex And The Single Bird

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I lay no claim to being an ornithologist – but I’m telling you, spring is most definitely in the air in the bird kingdom.  You should see and hear what’s going on in the trees around our house.  It’s a veritable conclave for coming together (so to speak).

Apparently cardinals are monogamous, but the guys still go through a very touching courtship routine each season.  They ask their prospective baby-mamas out for a date.  I gather this tryst is always about food – no ice-skating or movies involved.  But if the meal is good and the guy is cute, he can seal the deal if he sings well.  Personally, I have heard some very impressive trilling lately.  And my hunch is that he’s got to bring something more than a McDonald’s Happy Meal if he’s hoping for a long-term relationship.  It’s good to be discerning I think – regardless of your species.  And I think it’s good for the kids to see their parents being nice to each other.

Now, the male robins show up a few weeks ahead of the girls, to scope out neighborhoods, do a little house-hunting, and sing threateningly to establish property rights (I guess this is analogous to going to a closing on one’s house).  Far be it for me to let them know that what they perceive as threatening sounds pretty damn glorious to me.  When the ladies arrive, things move into a mode similar to “The Dating Game” (yes, this dates me significantly).  The female has her choice, gets to ask a lot of questions (do you believe that parenting responsibilities should be shared; would you describe yourself as a romantic; if you were a human, what kind of human would you be, etc) and once she chooses her mate they head off for a brief honeymoon at some undisclosed location up the street.

We have a lot of different birds around here – I’m just mentioning these two types because they’re the least intimidating.  And because this topic could get a little tedious.  Let’s just say that turkey vultures courting other turkey vultures is nightmare-worthy and so frightening to Bogey that he barked at the sky for twenty minutes after witnessing their efforts at seduction.  There’s just nothing romantic to be said about turkey vultures.  Unless of course you’re a turkey vulture.

So as the buds begin to wink suggestively, promising more beauty yet to come, there’s even more salacious activity going on within their branches.  Listen up, it’s the music of love.